A decade ago, I developed a personal mission statement: the one-liner from which most of what I do would flow.
That mission statement said I'd champion unpopular causes. I reasoned that if a cause is popular, my efforts would be but one drop in an ocean of advocacy. I figured I'd have greater impact by advocating for changes that I believe are crucial yet contrary to popular opinion. So, over the last decade, I've worked hard on these issues:
- Small government. I believe that nations are best when government is small and with a balanced budget and no bailouts. Money is most wisely spent when the invisible hand of 300,000,000 Americans, not government, decide where money is best saved and spent.
I believe government should have no role in personal decisions such as abortion, when to die (euthanasia), or on who should be allowed to marry--I support gay marriage.
- Higher education is America's most overrated and underexamined product. The president-appointed Spellings Commission reported that the amount of freshman-to-senior growth in writing, reading, critical thinking, etc., is astonishingly low.
- We send too many kids to college. The U.S. Department of Education reports that among the hundreds of thousands of college freshmen who graduated in the bottom 40% of their high school class, 2/3 do not graduate even if given 8 1/2 years. Most mediocre high school students would be wiser to consider apprenticeship programs, short-term career training programs at community college, or learning entrepreneurship at the elbow of good and ethical small business owners.
- Today, white males are the greatest victims of unfair treatment. Some people believe that still, 50 years after the civil rights movement/reverse discrimination and 145 years after slavery ended, we still must make major efforts to "level the playing field." I deeply believe that argument is fully trumped by the gross unfairness to white men in education, employment, divorce law, health care research, and treatment by the media. Even more important, whenever a less competent/hard-working person is hired, we all suffer: lower quality health care, products, services, etc. In addition, reverse discrimination reinforces racism--for example, when we see a minority in a position who is less competent or hard-working than her or his peers, racial stereotyping is reinforced.
- High-ability elementary school kids are the most underserved kids today. The gap between high-ability kids' potential and their performance is far greater than for low achievers. Yet today's public schools are driven by No Child Left Behind, which provides schools with enormous carrots and sticks for working with weak students and none for bright kids. The result is that bright kids, especially active boys, if they can't sit still for years of six hours a day/five days a week of dumbed-down instruction, are ever more yelled at and/or put on Ritalin.
- We must reinvent the high school and college curriculum. Currently, professors (who are out-of-touch lovers of arcana) dictate the curriculum, insisting that quadratic equations, the halide series of chemical elements, the use of the doppleganger, and the causes of the Pelopponesian wars are more important for students to learn than interpersonal communication, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, information literacy, etc. That is not just elitist; it's truly crazy.
- Society's mind-molders should strive to provide a marketplace of ideas, not brainwash. Ever more, our schools, colleges, and media are abandoning their near-sacred responsibility to present the full-range responsibly held views from both left and right of center so the public can make fully informed decisions. Now, positions that dare veer right of center are usually censored and/or censured, often dubbing them racist or sexist, the worst, most discussion-stifling epithets that can be uttered.
Alas, my decade of advocacy on these causes has yielded no perceivable improvement. I balm myself by thinking that I'm a man ahead of my time. Of course, it's also possible that I'm a man whose time has passed. In either case, I plan to not write any more about the aforementioned causes. (as well as about Obama, as I promised in a recent post.)
I will try to restrain myself and write just in the area in which I've previously had the biggest impact: advice on how to improve your worklife. Hope you'll find it helpful.